Monday, 24 November 2014

The benefits of on-the-job networking

Most job-networking advice follows the same script: hit the pavement, connect with industry peers on social media, get yourself known. But what can you do to advance your career without jumping ship.
Here are five tips on how to get all the benefits of networking without leaving your current company.

1. Join company clubs and groups

If you work for a mid-sized or larger firm, it’s likely they have clubs and groups that bring people together from different areas to share knowledge, skills and experience. Do they have meet-ups and team sports outside of work? This can be a good way to have fun while getting to know your colleagues better.

2. Polish your skills

One of the best ways to gain a competitive edge within your own company is to join a group or association. Workshops, seminars and conferences can give you a bird’s-eye view of industry trends and best practices. If the extra skills and knowledge you gain can benefit the company, your employer might even be prepared to pay for the cost of membership.

3. Volunteer

This is another good way to broaden your horizons – and career options – without joining the throng of job hunters. Unpaid or pro-bono work can show that you are sensitive to social causes while also raising your profile with colleagues and managers. If you can get them to join in as well, it can be a good way to bond with them.

4. Nurture relationships

Everyone wants to carve out a great career path, but some forget this can only be achieved by doing the right thing by their colleagues and the company. Getting ahead in your career depends very much on the relationships you build along the way. Polish your listening skills, look for opportunities to make other people’s jobs easier and provide a helping hand whenever possible. It will pay dividends later.

5. Be thankful

A quick ‘thank you’ email takes only a few seconds and shows the recipient you appreciate what they did for you. Other small gestures – such as treating a colleague to lunch or bringing a cake to the office – might seem a little cheesy, but they can go a long way towards making you a valued and well-liked person around the office.

Also keep in mind that hiring and training a new employee is expensive, and most companies are willing to invest heavily in retaining their best staff. If you can give them reason to do so, the rewards can be great.


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